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"Filthy Friends" redirects here. For the band, see Filthy Friends (supergroup).
Micachu at Crash Mansion 2008.jpg
Performing in New York City, October 2008
Background information
Birth name Mica Levi
Born 28 February 1987
Surrey, England,
United Kingdom
Genres Experimental pop, avant-pop, lo-fi, indie, noise pop, grindie, film score
Instruments Vocals, guitar, electronics, found objects
Years active 2006-present
Labels Rough Trade, Accidental
Associated acts Brother May, Dean Blunt, DELS, Ghostpoet, Kwes, Matthew Herbert, London Contemporary Orchestra, Oliver Coates, Tirzah
Website micachu.biz
Good Sad Happy Bad
Also known as Micachu & The Shapes (2008-2016)
Years active 2008-present
Labels Rough Trade
Members Mica Levi
Raisa Khan
Marc Pell

Mica Levi (born 28 February 1987), known by her stage name Micachu, is an English singer, songwriter, composer, and producer.[1] She is classically trained and is best known for her band Micachu & The Shapes and for creating experimental music in a variety of genres.


Levi was born and raised in Surrey, England.[2] The daughter of two musicians, she started writing and playing music at the age of four.


Levi performed as a DJ in London, and released a mixtape titled Filthy Friends, which was posted on her official Myspace page.[3] For Filthy Friends she enlisted the help of friends and musicians of various backgrounds including MCs Baker Trouble, Brother May, Man Like Me & Ghostpoet,[4] singer-songwriter Jack Peñate, jazz band Troyka, London pop-band Golden Silvers as well as producers Kwes and Toddla T. Following its release, Filthy Friends became sought after on the London club scene.

While a student at Guildhall, Levi was commissioned to write an orchestral piece for the London Philharmonic Orchestra which was performed at the Royal Festival Hall in April 2008.[5]

Levi was an Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre in London in 2010.[6]

Levi co-wrote and produced Tirzah's I'm Not Dancing EP, which was released by Greco-Roman Records in August 2013, to critical acclaim.[7]

Levi composed the soundtrack to Under the Skin,[8] a film directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Scarlett Johansson,[9] released in 2014. The film is based upon the novel of the same name by Michel Faber. She was nominated for multiple Awards for this score and won Best Composer for this score at the 2014 European Film Awards,[10] tying with Jonny Greenwood for Best Music/Score at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Critics Awards.[11] She has also been nominated for the 2015 BAFTA Award for Best Film Music.[12]

In August 2016, Levi was hired to compose the score for Pablo Larrain's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biopic Jackie.[13]

Micachu and the Shapes[edit]

Levi formed a band called The Shapes, which includes Raisa Khan on keyboards and Marc Pell on drums. They signed to Accidental Records. With the Shapes, Levi's focus has been on experimental pop music. Most of this music prominently features an acoustic half-guitar with various non-standard tunings, extensive distortion, and use of noise and found-object elements, as well as occasionally unusual time signatures. Despite these experimental leanings, the artist categorizes her output with The Shapes as pop music.

Their debut album, Jewellery, produced with influential electronic musician Matthew Herbert, was recorded around Mica's composition studies at Guildhall School. Advance copies of the record reached the press in early 2009, and generated positive feedback. In the wake of this growing buzz, Micachu and the Shapes were signed to Rough Trade,[14] who released Jewellery on 9 March 2009. Drowned In Sound consequently hailed the record as "thrillingly improbable pop made by a grade-A maverick."[15]

In 2009, the band received a grant from the PRS for Music Foundation.[16]

Micachu and the Shapes toured widely throughout the UK in 2008, including performances at Bestival and V Festival. The band played in the US at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City and SXSW in Austin, Texas. They also performed on the Main Stage of the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island in Brooklyn in July 2009. Touring continued throughout Europe and North America in the summer and fall of 2009.[17] In Spring of 2010, Micachu and the Shapes supported Spoon on tour throughout North America.

The band performed with the London Sinfonietta at Kings Place, London in May 2010 and in March 2011 released the live recording as the album "Chopped and Screwed".[18] Unlike their previous effort, the recording largely avoids pop sensibilities in favor of a slower, hip-hop indebted style and repetitive, discordant string arrangements. The band were chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that they curated in May 2011 in Minehead, England.[19]

The follow-up to their debut, Never, was released on 23 July 2012.

The band released the album Good Sad Happy Bad on 11 September 2015.[20][21]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak positions
2009 Jewellery (with The Shapes) 196
2012 Never (with The Shapes)[22]
  • Release date: 23 July 2012
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
2014 Under The Skin (OST)[23]
  • Release date: 17 March 2014
  • Label: Milan Records and Rough Trade Records
2015 Good Sad Happy Bad (with The Shapes)
  • Release date: 11 September 2015
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
2016 Remain Calm (with Oliver Coates)
  • Release date: 25 November 2016
  • Label: Slip Records
2016 Jackie (OST)
  • Release date: TBA
  • Label: TBA

Live albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak positions
2011 Chopped and Screwed (with The Shapes and the London Sinfonietta)
  • Release date: 23 March 2011 (Australia), 28 March 2011 (U.K./Rest of world)
  • Label: Remote Control and Rough Trade Records


Year Mixtape details
2009 Filthy Friends
  • Released: 9 February 2009
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD, Digital download
2010 Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.1 with Kwes.
  • Released: 5 June 2009
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Cassette Tape, Digital download
2011 Meat Batch with Kwake Bass
  • Released: 22 March 2011
  • Label: For BTS Radio
  • Formats: Digital download
Chopped & Screwed Mixtape with Brother May
  • Released: 2011
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Digital download
2012 Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.2 with Kwes.
  • Released: 30 April 2012
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Cassette Tape, Digital download
2014 Feeling Romantic Feeling Tropical Feeling Ill
  • Released: 27 November 2014
  • Label: Self-released (Demdike Stare Self-Released)
  • Formats: Cassette Tape, Digital download

Singles / EPs[edit]

  • "Lone Ranger" (2008)
  • "Golden Phone" (2008)
  • "Lips" (2009)
  • "Turn Me Well" (2009)
  • "I'm Not Dancing" (2013) (with Tirzah)
  • "No Romance" (2014) (with Tirzah)
  • "Thinking of You" (2015) (with Nozinja, Tirzah and Mumdance)
  • "Make It Up" (2015) (with Tirzah)
  • "Taz and May Vids" (2016) (with Tirzah and Brother May)
  • "May and Meeks" (2016) (with Brother May)
  • "Looking Up at the Sun / Mash One" (2016) (with Good Sad Happy Bad)
  • "Clothes Wear Me" (2016) (with KEVIN)

Awards and recognition[edit]

European Film Awards, Best Composer for soundtrack to Under The Skin[24]

BAFTA nomination 2015 for soundtrack to Under The Skin[25]

Los Angeles Film Critics Award, Best Music Score for soundtrack to Under The Skin. Tied with Jonny Greenwood.[26]


  1. ^ "Micachu | Biography, Albums, & Streaming Radio | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Ben (2015-08-02). "Micachu and the Shapes review – renaissance woman goes back to basics". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  3. ^ "Micachu teams up with Brother May for 'May And Meeks' EP". DIY. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  4. ^ "Rapper Ghostpoet talks about his struggle for success". 2015-02-21. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  5. ^ Burrows, Tim. Micachu and the Shapes: The Shape of Things To Come, "The Telegraph, 4 March 2009"
  6. ^ "Resident Orchestras & Artists in Residence". Southbank Centre. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  7. ^ "Tirzah: "I'm Not Dancing" | Tracks". Pitchfork. 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  8. ^ Levi, Mica (2014-03-15). "How Mica Levi got Under The Skin of her first film soundtrack". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  9. ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (2014-03-16). "Scarlett Johansson interview: 'I would way rather not have middle ground'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  10. ^ NME.COM. "Mica Levi on scoring 'Under the Skin': 'I dreamt the world came out of Scarlett Johansson's face' | NME.COM". NME.COM. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  11. ^ "LAFCA". LAFCA. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  12. ^ "Mica Levi earns BAFTA nomination for Under The Skin score". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  13. ^ "Mica Levi scores Jackie Kennedy biopic starring Natalie Portman". August 16, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016. 
  14. ^ Records, Rough Trade. "Rough Trade Records". Rough Trade Records. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 
  15. ^ Ubaghs, Charles (2009-03-17). "Album Review: Micachu - Jewellery / Releases / Releases // Drowned In Sound". Drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  16. ^ Hogan, Marc. "What's the Matter with Sweden?" in Pitchfork.com 29 March 2010
  17. ^ "Micachu | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  18. ^ "Micachu & the Shapes and London Sinfonietta present: CHOPPED & SCREWED", Rough Trade Records.
  19. ^ "ATP curated by Animal Collective - All Tomorrow's Parties". Atpfestival.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  20. ^ "Good Sad Happy Bad critics reviews". Mertacritic.com. September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Pop and Jazz Listings and Albums for the Fall Season". New York Times, SEPT. 7, 2015
  22. ^ "News | DOWNLOAD: Kwesachu Vol. 2". The Quietus. 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  23. ^ Jayson Greene (2014-04-17). "Mica Levi: Under the Skin OST Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  24. ^ "European Film Academy : THE 27TH EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS: WINNERS". Europeanfilmacademy.org. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  25. ^ "Original Music Nominees in 2015". Bafta.org. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  26. ^ "L.A. Film Critics Awards: Jonny Greenwood & Mica Levi Tie in Best Music Score Category". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 

External links[edit]